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Eight years after Metro crash, families start to ‘grieve healthy’

  • Published in Local

MPI LegMem 0009 bRaja Williams (left) and Ava DeBose, children of crash victim Veronica DuBose, stand by the memorial dedicated to their mother in Legacy Memorial Park. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  The last thing Victor Fernandez told his mom, Ana, was “I love you,” and she said it back. The last thing Sergio Fernandez did was hug his mom, and she kissed him on the forehead.

Shortly thereafter, Ana Fernandez died in Metrorail’s catastrophic 2009 Red Line crash that took nine lives.

The accident’s eighth anniversary was recognized June 22 at Legacy Memorial Park on New Hampshire Avenue in Northeast D.C., just above the tracks where it happened. The families and friends of three of the deceased held an informal remembrance and prayed together.

Sergio, who’s now 18 and just graduated from Northwood High School in Silver Spring, said it’s been hard growing up without his mother, “But you gotta move on. You have to grow up.” Victor, 20, who graduated from Northwood last year, said, “We do everything in honor of her, like she was here.”

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Metro finally retiring oldest cars

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NTSB first warned subway system about danger following 2004 incident

metro logoWASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board says Metro’s 1000 series cars have to go and a Metro spokesman claims they will be gone in a few weeks.

But the problem goes back more than a decade, to 2006 when the NTSB first told Metro managers they might need to replace the aging cars following an investigation into a 2004 acciddent.

Meanwhile Metro continues to operate 34 of its original rail cars to transport passengers, despite the National Transportation Safety Board’s 2010 recommendation to remove them.

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Single-tracking on Metro Red Line this weekend to test for electrical problems

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metro logoMetro will begin single-tracking Red Line trains and reducing service this weekend, starting at 8 p.m. Friday, so its contractor can test for electrical problems on its rails, Metro spokesperson Ron Holzer said.

"I have said consistently that when we identify problems, we are going to address them head-on," said Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld. "We now have a pattern of electrical issues all in the same area, and we are going to act to resolve the issue and improve service for our customers."

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Metro safety chief says aging rail fastener led to smoke on Red Line

  • Published in Local

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WASHINGTON – The Metro chief safety officer at a Board Safety Committee Meeting said smoke incidents near Gallery Place and Metro Center stations in the last two weeks resulted from rail fasteners that are wearing out.

Metro Chief Safety Officer Pat Lavin said a stray electric current arced off a rail fastener, causing smoke near Metro Center Station Thursday morning. Lavin said the arcing occurred because the rubber coating of the aging rail fasteners was wearing thin, exposing the metal of the fastener to the stray current.

“What we’re finding is that the fasteners used at that location are basically starting to get to the end of their useful life,” Lavin said.

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Metro Examines Fasteners

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Vibrations on the Green Line and possible ties to derailments explored in subway

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WASHINGTON – Metro’s chief safety officer, Pat Lavin, said Tuesday Metro is investigating a possible connection between Metro rail fasteners and shaking houses located above the Green Line.

Inspectors say some of the fasteners may have been less than a day old when discovered broken.

“I wouldn’t say the rail clips are defective,” Lavin said. “If there’s an issue with a certain clip or a certain batch, those would be explored.”

Residents of D.C. neighborhood Petworth, located above the Green Line, complained to Metro executives last year they believe trains are causing their houses to shake and to vibrate, Metro said.

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Smoldering tracks lead to Metro change for second time in a week

  • Published in Local

metro logoMetro single-tracked Red Line trains during rush hour Tuesday due to an arcing stud bolt, eight days after a similar event caused Metro to close two stations on the Washington Nationals’ opening day.

Metro spokesperson Ron Holzer said Metro single-tracked trains between Farragut North and Judicary Square stations Tuesday due to a “smoldering stud bolt” at Gallery Place station, which caused some smoke.

D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel dispatched to Gallery Place station due to reports of something smoldering on the tracks, Vito Maggiolo said. It turned out to be a stud bolt.

“The initial report of our incident commander was some kind of smoldering debris, but a bolt could fall into that category,” Maggiolo said Wednesday.

Metro later said the incident was an arcing stud bolt.

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Metro delays due to smoke on Nats’ opening day

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Opening day for the Washington Nationals got a little hairy after a major transfer point on the Metro closed down because of smoke on the tracks.

Metro closed two Red Line stations for two hours Monday while the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services and Metro personnel investigated a report of smoke on the tracks Monday, Metro spokesperson Richard Jordan said.

Jordan said the source of the smoke was a stud bolt that was grounded. Metro did not run trains between two stops while Metro and D.C. Fire EMS investigated.

“The location of the stud bolt was between Gallery Place and Judiciary Square, so trains were turned back at the stations on either side (Metro Center and Union Station),” Jordan said.

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Metro examines possible effects of heft and vibrations from newer subway cars

  • Published in Local

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WASHINGTON – Metro is investigating residents’ complaints that trains are causing damage to D.C. homes, according to a spokesperson.

Meanwhile, the organization has been looking for rail fasteners that can hold more weight.

Spokesperson Richard Jordan said in a statement Metro is investigating the claims as well as whether Metro even has a role in the vibrations that those D.C. residents reported.

“Metro has retained an independent third-party expert (Wilson Ihrig) to conduct field measurements following complaints of vibration from residents along a specific section of the Green Line,” Jordan said Wednesday. “While Metro has not confirmed the cause or severity of these vibrations – or even confirmed that the complaints are Metro-related, we have committed to conducting independent testing to determine next steps.”

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